Speaking the Language

by Lindsay Kramer

Because English has become one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, there is a growing demand for courses taught in English at universities overseas. And Montclair State is working to meet that demand.

“Our ‘Teaching in English’ program is specifically designed for international university instructors who wish to strengthen their English writing and oral skills so that they are able to teach their subjects in English,” says Marina Cunningham, executive director of the Global Education Center (Global Ed).

Montclair State offers two “Teaching in English” programs – one in Montclair and the other at campuses overseas. “Teaching in English on Site” began in 2005, when 18 Montclair State faculty members went to Shanghai Normal University in China to teach professors there how to use English in their classrooms. “The most distinct feature of our program is that all instruction is conducted by faculty who are from the same or similar disciplines as the program participants,” says Cunningham.

In 2012, Global Ed launched the “Teaching in English on Campus” program, which brings professors from around the world to the University for an intensive four-week program designed to give them the tools and strategies they need to effectively teach their subjects in English back home.

To be part of “Teaching in English on Site,” universities apply to the program and, if accepted, make arrangements for Montclair State to send faculty to their campuses to teach. Three to four Montclair State professors go to the host institution, explains Fang Gong, assistant director for the program, to teach the four-week program, which includes courses such as Advanced English Writing Skills for Instructors (in the natural and applied sciences) and workshops such as Methodology and Teaching. Universities have their own unique needs and often choose a particular skill to focus on. For example, Gong says, Graz University in Austria emphasizes academic writing for its faculty.

‌Participants in the “Teaching in English on Campus” program stay at Montclair State. Upon arrival this past summer, they toured the campus, ate lunch at Sam’s Place and made a shopping trip to Target and Stop & Shop for groceries and other essentials. While on campus, participants have access to the Student Recreation Center and the outdoor swimming pool in the Village complex. “The program on campus includes a cultural component consisting of a series of lectures given by faculty experts on various aspects of American life,” Cunningham says.

Participants take classes and make cultural excursions to New York City and Philadelphia during the week. Weekends are free for exploration and many use the time to visit Washington, D.C., or to explore New York City further.  

“A lot of students major in English,” says Lee Seong-Uh, professor of public administration at Hansung University in South Korea. “I wanted to improve my teaching-in-English skills.”

‌Many professors find that students speak some English, but want to become more fluent. “Most students aren’t good at English,” says Seungcheon Kim, a professor in the Department of Information and Communications Engineering at Hansung. “I’ll adopt strategies and skills from this program to make students more receptive to learning English.”
Changhe Wu, the head of human resources at Shanghai Normal University, accompanied a group of 16 professors to Montclair State this past summer, so he could plan for the future.

“Because of the trend of globalization, students and professors face a challenge,” he says. “This program matches their needs. From a faculty point of view, it’s a great opportunity to do more, see more and make dramatic improvements in professionalism.”

He was impressed with Montclair State’s campus, too: “The campus is pretty. The style of architecture is similar to Shanghai Normal University. When I first saw a photo of it in an email, it looked just like my home university.”